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Medicos eye advertising

WA’S medical professionals may soon win some concessions that many businesses take for granted.

For many years doctors, chiro-practors, dentists and other health professionals have been restricted in the type of advertising they can undertake, thanks to the Acts governing their professions.

The Government has received interim reports regarding changes to the Chiropractors, Dental, Dental Pros-thesists, Nurses, Occup-ational Therapists Regis-tration, Osteopaths, Physio-therapists, Podiatrists Registration and Psych-ologists Registration Acts.

Health Minister Bob Kucera is considering those reports and is likely to recommend changes be made to the respective Acts, including lightening the advertising restrictions on the professions.

However, the Govern-ment wants to ensure such advertising is not:

• false, misleading or deceptive;

• creating an unjustified expectation of beneficial treatment; or

• promoting the unnecess-ary or inappropriate use of a health practitioner’s services.

A review of the Medical Act, which governs doctors, is under way and a report is expected soon. A review of pharmacy legislation is being conducted nationally.

The changes to the Acts will also remove the need for body corporates to be registered. If this is continued through to the Medical Act it could make life easier for medical practice corporatisers.

The Medical Act provides for the registration of bodies that are corporate – either of all medical practitioners or of medical practitioners and “others acceptable to the Medical Board”.

Medical Board registrar Michael Hood said only medical practitioners could operate a practice.

Corporatisers such as Endeavour get around this by buying the building the GP is operating from and supplying the back-office support.

In return the GP pays a management fee.

Endeavour managing director Garry Garside said corporatisers acted as a service to doctors.

He believes the corporatisation business is “growing nicely”.

Australian Medical Association WA president Bernard Pearn-Rowe believes the pace of corporatisation has levelled out, with about 45 per cent of WA’s GP practices corporatised.

“Corporatisation has slowed down on the GP front but is progressing into other areas,” Dr Pearn-Rowe said.

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